The Sawyer has been a grand servant to connections but has little chance at the weights in this rearranged Grade 2. Dan Breen has been in decent form over hurdles lately but has something to find with his rivals on chase form while Wishfull Thinking's career over fences hasn't quite taken off in the manner expected after he won at Aintree and Punchestown in the spring of last year, though he did enjoy a confidence-boosting success over 2m at Cheltenham last month. GHIZAO was a close-up third behind talented pair Captain Chris and For Non Stop at Ascot last month and that form easily gives him the beating of Wishfull Thinking. With the returning Hey Big Spender seemingly better over much further nowadays, the eight-year-old gets the nod.
Ghizao (GER) 10-1 (11-7) Raced centre, led, headed narrowly 6th, led again 10th, headed narrowly after 2 out (usual 3 out), 2 lengths down and ridden last, no impression flat, lost 2nd near finish, 3rd of 4, 4l behind Captain Chris (11-1) at Ascot 2m 3f Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Nov.
Hey Big Spender (IRE) 14-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, headway approaching 16th, challenged last, led flat, driven out, won at Warwick 3m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gs in Jan beating Fredo (10-0) by 3/4l, 13 ran.
Wishfull Thinking 8-11fav (11-0) Blundered and went right 1st, held up in 4th tracked leading pair 4th, went 2nd at 8th, led after 4 out, drew readily clear from 2 out, driven out flat, eased towards finish, won at Cheltenham 2m chs (2) sft in Nov beating Doeslessthanme (11-4) by 18l, 6 ran.
Dan Breen (IRE) 12-1 (11-2) In touch, headway 3 out, went 2nd approaching next, led narrowly between last 2, headed and 1 length down when stumbled and almost unseated rider last, soon lost place, kept on same pace, 3rd of 17, 20l behind Dark Lover (11-8) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) hvy.
The Sawyer (BEL) 15-2 (10-9) Led, not fluent 5th, hampered by loose horse 15th, headed before 2 out, soon beaten, 6th of 9, 27l behind The Rainbow Hunter (11-12) at Ascot 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Nov.